Virtual training programme for swimmers takes off

Sports

Virtual training programme for swimmers takes off

...Alia Atkinson invited to join next session to inspire younger athletes

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, April 16, 2020

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After whetting a few swimmers appetites with a successful introduction of his Zoom virtual strength training programme, sports physical therapist Dr Dialo-Rudolph Brown has broadened his scope to accommodate other athletes who are buying into the idea, as they continue to find ways to cope with restrictions brought on by the current health crisis.

Though a spike in the curve of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infections around the world continues to cast doubt on when sportsmen and women will return to the field, athletes, and swimmers in particular, are very much aware of the immense physical and mental benefits of staying active.

In fact, Brown, who is also a doctor of physical therapy and holds a master’s degree in sports medicine, believes now is the time for swimmers to focus on good form at home to translate to good form in the water whenever the pandemic ceases.

After starting the initial session with few local swimmers as well as others from England, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Cayman Islands, things picked up significantly with five more swimmers from the twin-island republic and two Canadians joining another Caymanian, a Grenadian, and six more local swimmers as the new members of the online club.

During yesterday’s session dubbed ‘floor, core, and more’, some 35 swimmers took to their bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens, and outdoors, to challenge themselves with the various exercises being narrated by Brown.

Although there are many incredible benefits of swimming, Brown noted that there are some precautions that must be taken when spending a lot of time in the pool.

While it is undeniable that swimming can yield incredible physical results, it is an exceptionally vigorous form of exercise and often causes overuse injuries, and muscle imbalances.

“So as you can see the session includes strengthening abdominal and muscles of the lower back and also the hips, because it is very important in a swimmer to keep the body stable. It is one thing to have strong legs and arms, but you want to maintain strong body positions,” Brown told the Jamaica Observer shortly after the little more than one-hour session.

He continued: “It was a really good session, and I was quite pleased and quite honoured, actually, to have so many persons joining in, not just our national swimmers, but also swimmers from other Carifta territories. So I am pleased to be serving these athletes, and of course having the parents really buying into this whole idea of the Zoom virtual training.

“I think swimmers in Scotland or somewhere in the UK started doing the same thing recently as well having their dry land strength training sessions via Zoom. So it’s great to know that we’re on the ball and being pretty much at the forefront in some ways, and we love to see more and more swimmers taking this on and really enjoying these sessions.”

Rory Alvaranga, head coach of Kaizen Swim Club and one of the conceptualisers of the virtual training programme, revealed that steps have been taken to have Jamaica’s champion swimmer and shortcourse world record holder Alia Atkinson join the next session to further motivate the young swimmers.

“We have reached out to her and we are awaiting a response, so we are hopeful that she will come on board for the next session on Saturday,” Alvaranga shared.

“The thinking for the session is to focus on the whole athlete and not just assign strength work to have them bulk up and shorten the muscles, which is the recommendation of Ultra Short Race Pace Training (USRPT) to avoid. The exercise given by Dr Brown will also improve joint integrity and rehabilitate those with underlined issues,” the veteran coach ended.


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